GETTING INTO HOT WATER: Urns & Pump Pots in Halacha: Shabbos & Yom Tov

Electric urns greatly enhance our oneg Shabbos and Yom Tov by allowing us to effortlessly enjoy hot drinks. However, the technological advances that permit us to use urns on demand come along with a host of halachic considerations that must be carefully reviewed.

A summary of the various halachic considerations in the usage of electric urns, pump pots and commercial urns are addressed in this article. An urn is a heater that lets the water out through gravity using a lever at the bottom of the urn. A pump pot uses a pump at the top to force the water out. In this article, the term urn is used generically to refer to a pump pot, as well (except as noted in the section about the water level tube).

Keep in mind that there are many different types of devices, and not every situation is applicable to all of them.

Heating, Adding and […]

Keep the Fire Burning Creatively

1-איז דרך טוב שידבק בה האדם … רבי שמעון אומר הרואה את הנולד – What is a wise life course of action? Rabbi Shimon says it is seeing the consequences of one’s actions. Our Chachomim, with their keen insight into human nature and the consequences of one’s actions, realized that safeguards have to be instituted in order to keep the קדושה and טהרה of כלל ישראל intact.

 2 גדולה לגימה שמקרבת את הרחוקים there is nothing more effective to draw hearts closer (i.e., relationships) than a “geshmak” meal. לגימה is probably the most potent tool that kiruv professionals have in their kiruv arsenal. The “לגימה” factor is part and parcel of human nature and socialization. Unfortunately, we have seen how potentially dangerous “innocent” socialization can create serious pitfalls. As a precaution against unnecessary socialization, our חכמים3 have instructed that certain בושח foods served at important functions must be monitored by a יהודי […]

Sous-Vide Cookers on Shabbos

Some pronounce it ‘sue vee’, while others pronounce it ‘sue veed’. Either way, it is a French phrase which translates to “vacuum”. It is a method of cooking that was first described by the inventor Sir Benjamin Thompson, aka Count Rumford, who is also credited with the invention of thermal underwear. The techniques of modern sous-vide cooking were perfected in the 1970s and have become increasingly popular over the past twenty years. Sous-vide is a method of cooking in which food is vacuum-sealed in a plastic pouch and cooked in a bath of water at an accurately controlled temperature. The water is typically held at 125° – 175°F, which is considerably cooler than standard cooking temperatures in an oven. While the vacuum packing is achieved by removing any excess air, the food will not float but rather sink and be completely submerged underwater.

There are a number of benefits to sous-vide […]

STAR-K Partners with Mesivta Kesser Torah to Bring Torah Learning to Life

What better way to make kashrus and other halachic concepts come to life than to experience them hands-on? That is exactly what the bochurim of Mesivta Kesser Torah of Baltimore did when STAR-K Kashrus Administrators were invited to the yeshiva to present an array of topics.

The four-part STAR-K Educational Series kicked off in January with Rabbi Emanuel Goldfeiz’s Shatnez Lab practicum, in which the bochurim learned about modern-day shailos of shatnez. After the class, students expressed their excitement about the opportunity that they were afforded.  Students specifically were fascinated by the degree to which we go to avoid wearing shatnez. One student also remarked, “Knowing that VBC [Vitale Barberis Canonico] suits can be shatnez is very useful to know when suit shopping.”

The following week, Rabbi Sholom Tendler taught the students how to meticulously check vegetables for tolaim.  Students had a great time searching for bugs using the STAR-K’s thrip cloth […]

STAR-K-Certified Fresko Lands United Airlines Meal Contract

Things are looking up for kosher travelers flying to Israel on United Airlines, with the airline’s recent announcement that STAR-K-certified Fresko meals will debut this month on U.S. to Tel Aviv flights. The variety of new options offered will be available from the airline’s Newark/New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C./Dulles-based hubs.

Newark to Tel Aviv flights will feature Fresko menu options such as fresh bagels, cheese omelets, blintzes, chicken marsala, kale quinoa burgers and traditional bakery items including rugelach and black and white cookies. For its youngest flyers, United is testing a child’s menu offering in all cabins between Tel Aviv, Newark, and San Francisco. If it takes off the airline will offer the meal selection on additional Tel Aviv routes.

While waiting for take-off in Newark, United’s Polaris Lounge guests will now be able to find a hot Kosher à la carte meal option which it is also testing, in […]

STAR-K & Imex Co-Sponsor  Kosher Pavilion @ SIAL Paris 2020

STAR-K Kosher Certification is excited to announce a new collaboration with IMEX Management to organize the first ever “Kosher Pavilion sponsored by STAR-K Kosher Certification” at SIAL Paris 2020 this October.

 

SIAL Paris is the world’s largest food and beverage industry event.  Welcoming over 300,000 trade visitors and 7,000 exhibitors, SIAL is recognized the world over as the international hub for food and beverage innovation.  The global kosher food market is projected to grow by 11.6%, increasing in value to an estimated US$ 60 billion by 2025!  There’s no better time to meet with a global audience than at SIAL 2020.

 

Exhibiting in the Kosher Pavilion sponsored by STAR-K Kosher Certification at SIAL provides our clients with:

the opportunity to present their products in front of buyers from every continent and all sectors of the food and beverage industry
an excellent, central location in Hall 4
furnished, turnkey individual exhibit spaces available in denominations of […]

GE, Hotpoint, Crosley Oven Alert

ONLY MODELS LISTED BELOW ARE AFFECTED:

It has come to our attention that GE mistakenly removed a critical piece of information from some STAR-K certified oven manuals. In the following GE, Hotpoint and Crosley models, Sabbath Mode does NOT control the light inside the oven. The light WILL turn on if you open the oven even when in Sabbath Mode.

Owners of these ovens should either leave the light on over the duration of Shabbos/Yom Tov or simply loosen the light bulb ahead of time.

GE

Hotpoint

Crosley

JB255
RBS160
VBS160

JB256
RBS360
VGBS100

JB258
RBS400
XB258

JB480
RGBS100
XB625

JB625
RGBS200
XBS360

JB645
RGBS300
XGB635

JB655
RGBS400
XGB660

JBS160

XGBS400

JBS27

JBS30

JBS360

JBS460

JBS60

JGB450

JGB635

JGB645

JGB660

JGB700

JGB720

JGB735

JGB740

JGB860

JGBS10

JGBS30

JGBS60

JGBS61

JGBS62

JGBS66

JGBS86

JGS760

JGSS66

JGSS66

JGSS86

P2B935

P2B940

P2S930

PGB911

PGB930

PGB935

PGB940

PGB960

PGB965

PGB980

PGS930

PGS960

Spotlight on Eggs

Jews have been eating eggs for thousands of years. How many of us have ever wondered whether the eggs we bought at the local grocer came from a Kosher bird? The Shulchan Aruch1 states that only eggs which are pointy on one side and round on the other side can be considered Kosher. If, however, both sides are round or both sides are pointy it would be a siman (an indication) of an אמט ףוע, a non-Kosher bird.

The above noted siman does not make the egg itself Kosher, rather it is a way to indicate that the egg comes from a Kosher bird. Today, we can find chicken eggs which are round on both sides; consequently, the siman as stipulated by Chazal may have changed in our generation (עבטה הנתשנ). However, it is considered an act of piety for one to verify that the egg one wishes to consume is, […]

Signed, Sealed and Delivered: The Requirements for Chosmos on our Foods

One of the popular services that STAR-K offers to worldwide Jewry is our availability to find answers to shailos on almost any topic. When a phone call comes in, our Kashrus Administrators often have little clue as to what they will need to address. Some answers end up being straightforward, some are complex and some need to be creative.

I was faced with the latter situation over a year ago when a woman called. She said that her husband’s company had brought him a ready-to-eat meal, “Grilled Cutlets and Salad”, in a plastic container from a kosher certified store. However, after it was presented to her husband, since no one had thought to request seals on the container, my phone rang.

“It’s not that important, but is there any way my husband would be allowed to eat this food?” the woman asked. Immediately, I emailed a colleague who asked me to send […]

השוק הכשר

בעשרים וחמש השנים האחרונות הביקוש למוצרים עם הסמכה כשרה עלה באופן דרמטי. ליתר דיוק, השוק הכשר צמח בשיעור שנתי של 15% במהלך השנים האחרונות

הצרכן הכשר
השוק היהודי
הקהילה המוסלמית
זרמים דתיים אחרים
אי סבילות ללקטוז
צמחונים
ערובה לאיכות

הצרכן הכשר

מיליוני אנשים ברחבי העולם מגבילים את צריכת המזון שלהם ומחפשים את הסימן “כשר” כדי לוודא שההעדפות שלהם מתקיימות. על פי מחקרי שוק, המשיכה לאוכל כשר חורגת מהאינטרס של קבוצה אתנית ספציפית. צרכני מזון כשר כוללים יהודים, מוסלמים, בני כנסיות דת אחרות, צמחונים, אנשים עם אי סבילות ללקטוז, ומי שמבין ש”כשר עדיף”.

השוק היהודי
Integrated Marketing Communications צרכנים יהודים מהווים כמעט 45% מהשוק הכשר. חברת
אינטגרטייד מרקטינג קומיוניקיישן. תקשורת שיווקית משולבת] חושפת כי כ- 2.5 מיליון יהודים צורכים מוצרי מזון כשרים].

הקהילה המוסלמית
מיליוני מוסלמים ברחבי העולם חיים על פי תזונה הדומה לחוק הכשרות. מוצרי מזון בעלי תעודת הכשר מושכים את תשומת ליבם של מוסלמים מכיוון שהם עומדים בדרישות חלאל. מספר רב של מחקרים של […]

כיצד לבחור תעודת כשרות

בחירת הסוכנות הנכונה
בתחילה…
שאלות נפוצות
תנאי משא ומתן
עמלות

בחירת הסוכנות הנכונה

כיצד למצוא את תעודת הכשרות המתאימה שתענה על הצרכים הספציפיים של החברה שלך?ך

אלא אם תעודת כשרות מטעם מועצת רבנות מקומית, תספק את צרכי הכשרות של העסק שלך, אתה על סף חוויה מתסכל ת בניסיון להשוות בין יתרונות ההסמכות השונות. לא כל הארגונים בעלי הסמכה כשרה זהים!

חשוב מאוד לבצע הליך זה באופן הדומה בו תשתמש בבחירת עורך דין, יועץ פיננסי או עובד חיוני. בקיצור, עשה את העבודה שלך! שאל ת השאלות הנכונות ובחינת כל האפשרויות הקיימות בשוק הכשר עשויו ת לחסוך לחברתך חוויה לא נעימה ויקרה.

בתחילה…

לפני שתתחיל במשימת הראיון ולמידת היתרונות והחסרונות של סוכנויות ההסמכה השונות (הדבר תקף אם כבר יש לך אישור ורוצה לשקול שינוי), עליך לדעת שארגון מהימן לא יאשר מוצרים המבוססים רק על האמון בחברתך.

מלבד דברים רבים אחרים, הסוכנו ת להסמכה כשרה דורשת:

ביקורים במפעלים
בדיקה מעמיקה של תרכובו ת וציוד
פירוט על […]

FDA Registration and Compliance

STAR-K Kosher Certification Announces Synergetic Partnership with Registrar Corp

 STAR-K Kosher Certification Director of Development Steve Sichel and Registrar Corp President David Lennarz serendipitously met at a trade show in Germany about 15 years ago, and although they never imagined  that their companies would partner in the future – the match is an obvious one.

Every company that produces food or pharmaceuticals sold in the United States must comply with FDA requirements; with its numerous multi-lingual teams in offices throughout the world, Registrar Corp assists with the copious legwork needed to achieve that compliance seamlessly. For the twin benefit of Registrar’s clients exploring Kosher certification and existent STAR-K Kosher certified clients in need of FDA registration, the symbiotic relationship was realized. The partnership was formalized at Registrar Corp’s headquarters in Hampton, Virginia, in June.

Registrar Corporation provides turnkey services including

FSMA compliance including HACCP and Food safety planning
Label redesign and compliance
Import notification
myFDA Compliance monitor
Export […]

STAR-K Kosher Certification Announces Synergetic Partnership <br>with Registrar Corp

Little did STAR-K Kosher Certification Director of Development Steve Sichel and Registrar Corp President David Lennarz realize when they serendipitously met at a trade show in Germany about 15 years ago, that their companies would partner in the future – but the match is an obvious one.

Every company that produces food or pharmaceuticals sold in the United States must comply with FDA requirements; with its numerous multi-lingual teams in offices throughout the world, Registrar Corp assists with the copious legwork needed to achieve that compliance seamlessly. For the twin benefit of Registrar’s clients exploring Kosher certification and existent STAR-K Kosher certified clients in need of FDA registration, the symbiotic relationship was realized. The partnership was formalized at Registrar Corp’s headquarters in Hampton, Virginia, in June.

“We decided we had a lot of synergy and started sharing trade show booths around the world – in France, Spain, Italy, Germany, among other countries,” […]

Medicine on Shabbos: Questions and Answers from Rav Moshe Heinemann, Shlit”a

In the times of Chazal, people would grind up medicine as needed. Grinding is forbidden on Shabbos; therefore, Chazal enacted a gezeira that a person should not take medicine on Shabbos for a minor ailment. Even though it is not common nowadays for a consumer to crush his own medicine, the gezeira remains in full force. In general, it is forbidden for a person with a minor ailment to do anything on Shabbos which an observer would realize is being done for refuah. I asked Rav Heinemann, shlit”a, twenty questions regarding treating minor ailments on Shabbos. Below are the questions and his answers. Following that, I have added source material for those who wish to further understand these pesakim.

Q1: How bad does a headache or an allergy such as hay fever need to be in order to take medicine on Shabbos?

A person is generally not allowed to take medicine on […]

Undercover: The Halachos of Schach

When our הרות speaks about the Festival of סוכות it states,חג הסוכות תעשה לך באספך מגרנך ומיקבך”,1″ “The סוכות holiday should be observed at the time that you harvest your grain and your wine,” during the fall.  Our חכמים have taught us that this קוספ has another interpretation.  The סוכה, in which we dwell during this חג , should be made from the unused parts of the harvested grain and wine, namely the stalks of grain and twigs of the vine.  These are the items that should be used for the סכך, the covering, which is placed on top of the סוכה instead of a permanent roof.

Our rabbis have further taught that this directive, פסולת גורן ויקב, includes other items that are similar to stalks and twigs that are no longer attached to the ground and cannot become ritually impure, טמא.  Unfinished wood slats, corn stalks, and palm branches are […]

A Time and Place for Almost Everything

Introduction:
Years ago, on a transatlantic flight, I had an interesting exchange with another passenger sitting across the aisle. He was traveling with his family, and they were obviously very European. Out of curiosity he asked, “What do American children eat for breakfast?” I responded, “All varieties of cold cereal;” that is the anchor of the All American breakfast. He reacted with a tone of disdain, “That is what we would feed animals!” I countered, “So, what do you serve your children?” “Porridge!” was the reply. Porridge, I said to myself. That’s the staple of the Three Bears!

Of course, every country has their own breakfast menu and what one culture might consider to be an elegant repast would not pass muster in a different district or region. In fact, the laws of בישול עכו”ם reflect these differences of זמן and מקום, time and place. What qualifies as עולה על שלחן […]

Kosher Dining at Yale University Hillel Newly Certified by STAR-K Kosher Certification

As a proud native New Havener, I was overjoyed when I found out that Yale University’s kosher kitchen would be certified by STAR-K Kosher Certification; I couldn’t wait to try it out, as I recently did, on my annual Elul trip to my hometown.

Yale University’s kosher kitchen has come a long way since it first opened to serve weeknight dinners to its graduate students in the fall of 1959. It was housed in the Young Israel synagogue, a 25-minute walk from the university’s downtown New Haven, Connecticut, campus. Most recently, reinventing itself as a STAR-K Kosher-certified facility in the Lindenbaum Kosher Kitchen located at the Joseph Slifka Center for Jewish Life, it functions seamlessly in the middle of the campus as part of the Yale University Dining System.

Since 1999, STAR-K Kashrus Administrator Rabbi Mayer Kurcfeld has been engineering and overseeing the agency’s many certified on-campus facilities, custom-designing those which were […]

Undercover: The Halachos of Schach

Published Fall 2009

When our Torah speaks about the Festival of Sukkos it states, “Chag HaSukkos Taaseh Lecha B’Aspecha Migornecha U’Miyikvecha.”1  “The Sukkos holiday should be observed at the time that you harvest your grain and your wine,” during the fall.  Our Chachamim, sages, have taught us that this pasuk has another esoteric meaning.  The sukkah, in which we dwell during this chag, should be made from the unused parts of the harvesting grain and wine, namely the stalks of grain and twigs of the vine.  These are the items that should be used for the schach, the covering, which is placed on top of the sukkah instead of a permanent roof.

STAR-K FOOD SERVICE KASHRUS TRAINING SEMINAR IS WORTH THE TRIP…EVEN FROM ISRAEL AND COSTA RICA

Shai and Maayan Ben-Eli traveled the farthest – 5,863 miles from Yerushalayim – to attend the STAR-K Food Service Kashrus Training Seminar, held in the agency’s Baltimore offices, August 5-7. The Ben-Elis are being groomed not only as STAR-K mashgichim for their upcoming move to Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), India, but as the agency’s emissaries to the once-thriving Jewish community.

There has been a Jewish presence in Kolkata since 1798, when a Syrian jewel trader, Shalom Cohen, migrated there. Other Jews followed, mostly from Iraq and Syria, who opened businesses and exported silk, indigo, and opium. By the last half of the 19th century, the city was bustling with 3,000 Jews. During World War II, the Jewish population peaked with those seeking refuge. The community teemed with Jewish amenities for its nearly 5,000 Jews until that number rapidly diminished when India gained independence from the British in 1947 and, again, with the […]

16th Annual STAR-K Kashrus Training Program Draws Participants from Amsterdam to Panama City

Samy Weill, who has been in the kashrus field for 26 years, traveled the farthest – 3808 miles from Amsterdam – to attend the 16th Annual STAR-K Training Program held July 22-25 in the kashrus agency’s Baltimore offices. As an administrator for the Chief Rabbinate of Holland, he oversees the initial inspections and annual visits of hundreds of companies in Holland, Belgium. Germany, France, and Spain. “I came to the training program to make contacts and bring back new ideas for improving our agency,” mentions Mr. Weill.

David Eshkenazi traveled only 2103 miles from Panama City, where he learns in kollel, to attend the program. He signed up because he aspires to work in the booming field of Kashrus in Panama.

“It’s one thing to learn about Kashrus in the Shulchan Aruch, and another thing to learn it, hands-on,” notes Mr. Eshkenazi. “Having experienced mashgichim and rabbis – who have seen things […]

Slurpee Confidential

Editor’s Note: The STAR-K Slurpee List is a compilation of flavors certified by an array of reliable kashrus certification agencies. Optimally, either the individual 7-11 store should be kosher certified or the consumer should check the kashrus of the syrup himself by checking the back of the machine. Many stores have been known to allow this. If neither option is available, this article will address the halachic basis for relying on The Slurpee List at any 7-11 store located in the United States.

One of the ways we mark the change of seasons is by eating and drinking the foods we associate with that particular time of year. The Rambam advises in Hilchos Deos1 that one adjust his menu with the seasons, eating warm spicy foods in the winter and cool, less seasoned ones during the warmer months: hot hearty soup (or microwaved leftover cholent!) on a cold winter night, watermelon […]

A Cut Above – Or Is It?

Much discussion and halachic energy have been expended discussing the halachic legitimacy of Norelco’s Lift-and-Cut shavers. The Lift-and-Cut claims to lift up the hair by one blade and then cut it with a second blade, instead of using a screen-blade scissor action.

It is a fascinating fact that the lift-and-cut “technology” is based on a concept fostered by Gillette razor blade producers that if you insert two razor blades together with a slight gap between them, the first will pull the shaft of the hair up and the second blade will cut the hair below the skin line. Hence, the term “lift and cut”.

Bear in mind that the edge of the razor blade is sharpened to a point of .1mm to .2mm (1/16 of an inch = 1.5mm), so the point of a razor is unquestionably razor sharp! However, users of the dual blade have dispelled the lift-and-cut “theory”. Below are […]

Electric Shavers

Since Star-K often receives questions regarding the use of electric shavers, this article will address the halachic concerns of removing one’s facial hair.  The Torah states, “לא תקפו פאת ראשכם ולא תשחית את פאת זקנך” (ויקרא י”ט כ “Do not round the corners of one’s head and do not destroy the corner of one’s beard” . The Torah continues, “ופאת קזנם לא יגלחו (ויקרא כ, “and the corner of one’s beard they shall not shave”.

What are the actions of forbidden facial hair removal?  The Mishna in מכות discusses which methods of removing facial hair are forbidden. הקפה, “rounding”, refers to the complete removal of hair from the temple area.  The terms גילוח, “shaving”, and השחתה , “destroying” refer to forbidden forms of removing one’s beard.

The Mishna does not offer a practical explanation of these actions.  Do these terms refer to the cutting of hair using different types of shaving implements, or do these actions refer to different degrees of hair removal […]

Exploring A Common Kitchen Mixup

You have arrived home after a long day at work. Upon entering your house, you notice a full strainer of macaroni sitting next to a fleishig pot. You are not sure if you can use that macaroni to make yourself macaroni and cheese. Everyone knows that cooking milk and meat is an issur d’oraisa,1 but this is pareve macaroni from a clean fleishig pot. What is the halacha?

The Gemara tells us that just as one may not cook actual meat with cheese, he may also not cook meat flavored food with cheese2 (i.e., meat flavored potato from a cholent pot). Even a flavor which was transferred twice cannot be cooked with the opposite gender food, e.g., flavor which transferred from meat to a pot and then from that same pot to the macaroni. When the transmission of flavor is performed through a cooking process, we maintain the view of the […]

Kashering Your Countertops Properly

Countertops that are made of solid stone, like granite or marble are able to be Kashered for Pesach. Other synthetic or composite materials (including granite composite) can not be Kashered  and should be covered.1

Granite or marble countertops can only be koshered using Eruy Roschin, which means pouring boiling water from a pot that has been heated on a fire2. Actual water3 is needed to kasher, not steam4. The concept of using a steam machine is that it will boil water and spray that water through a hose creating a neat and efficient method to accomplish Eruy Roschin. However, if the steamer only produces steam and not actual boiling water, it can not be used to kasher, even if the steam is hotter than 212 f5. STAR-K has tested many models of steamers available commercially and have found that almost all of them will only produce hot steam and not boiling water6.

Another concept that many […]

Maryland Beer Alert Pesach 2020/5780

UPDATED: As of April 7, 2020. Check back after June 1st

It has come to our attention that two large beer distribution companies, who are the exclusive distributors of many brands in Maryland, are Jewish owned. Due to numerous challenges, a proper sale of Chometz is not possible. As a result, many brands of beer sold in our area will be “Chometz She’avar Alav HaPesach”. The problematic beer in stock will not be depleted until sometime in June. Please check our website after June 1st for an update. Until that time, the beers on the list here should not be purchased. We do not have any information about beers sold outside of Maryland.

For a list of stores where brands listed may be purchased in Maryland see here.

Additionally, one may purchase beer at the following stores with the listed conditions:

Accents Liquor Store (new!) – All beer in the store
Dugan’s – Only beer that has an approval sticker […]

First Ever Pan-Asia Training Seminar Held in Shanghai

They come from Perth; Yerushalayim; Mumbai; Manila; Boston; Scottsdale; and Los Angeles, but truly the mashgichim attending the inaugural STAR-K Pan-Asia Kosher Training Seminar in Shanghai, January 9-14, live out of their suitcases. Dedicated to the mission of ensuring and spreading kashrus, even at a moment’s notice, implies where they are from is wherever their luggage happens to be.

Representing the premier kosher certifier in Asia, these STAR-K mashgichim are the “eyes and ears” in the field who help certify thousands of products –from canned goods and nori sheets in China and South Korea, to spices and coconut products in India and Sri Lanka, and banana chips and coco sugar in the Philippines–mostly exported as “bulk” ingredients to be processed globally into consumer products.

STAR-K operates regional support centers in Shanghai, China and Cochin, India and representative offices in Manila, Philippines; Colombo, Sri Lanka; Karachi, Pakistan; and Jakarta, Indonesia.
Joining Baltimore-based STAR-K […]

Bedikas Chometz: Search for Dough Like a Pro

Before Pesach, a person is obligated to perform bedikas chometz, a search of his house and possessions, to ensure that he does not own any chometz. The bedikah should be conducted at the beginning of the night of the 14th of Nissan, immediately after tzeis hakochavim.1 If he did not do so, the bedikah can be done all night. Bedieved, if he did not perform the bedikah that night he should do it on the day of the 14th of Nissan.2

If he will not be home on the night of the 14th of Nissan, he should appoint another adult to perform the bedikah on his behalf.3 If he leaves his house within thirty days of Pesach, and is not planning to return and conduct a bedikah or have someone else perform a bedikah for him, then he should do bedikas chometz without reciting a brocha at […]

When You Can Drink and Drive: The Halachic Implications of Drinking Coffee on the Road

Happy Fact: Unflavored roasted coffee beans, whole and ground, are considered kosher without a hechsher (kosher certification). Bearing this in mind, buying a cup of unflavored regular, decaf, or High-Octane coffee (my usual choice) should not present any kashrus issues, right?

Not so fast fellow caffeine heads; life is never so simple.

The Problem: Some coffee vendors sell kosher and treif (non-kosher) items, like the Bacon & Gouda Breakfast Sandwich and the Pepperoni & Tomato Savory Foldover.1 The keilim (utensils) used for coffee and treif can at times be washed together, causing blios, absorbed tastes, from the treif kli to enter the coffee equipment. In Starbucks, for example, it’s been established that the brew basket that holds the coffee grounds while the coffee is being made is sometimes washed with keilim that may have come into contact with treif. If we have a “perfect storm” situation in which the wash water is […]

Nisht Oif Shabbos Geredt? The Guide to Proper Speech on Shabbos

Shabbos is the most beautiful day of the week, and our Neviim and Chazal have enhanced its sanctity by establishing various mitzvos d’rabanan. These mitzvos include activities that maintain kedushas Shabbos and render it more enjoyable, and prohibitions to ensure we do not perform a melachah d’oraisa. One example of an issur d’rabanan is what Yeshayahu Hanavi1 refers to as “daber davar”, a restriction on business and melachah-based discussions on Shabbos.

According to the Talmud Yerushalmi,2 when we are careful with speech on Shabbos, we emulate the Ribono Shel Olam, Who rested from speech3 on Shabbos Beraishis following the completion of the creation of the world.

The following halachos are based upon the psak of Harav Moshe Heinemann, shlit”a, Rabbinic Administrator of STAR-K Kosher Certification.4

I. Discussions of Melachah

In general, on Shabbos one is not allowed to say that he will perform a melachah after Shabbos. For example, it is forbidden to say, […]